Microsoft Announces Windows in Cars


Monday, October 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


DETROIT (AP) — Microsoft Corp. introduced its newest software for in-car computing devices Sunday, as well as the industry standards it would like to see adopted for how computers and cars swap information.

Analysts predict that by 2006, nearly 50 percent of all new cars — and 90 percent of luxury vehicles — will have some kind of Internet capability. Dozens of automakers and electronics companies are vying for position in the market.

Microsoft on Sunday unveiled a third version of its Windows CE software for vehicles. The first version was used in the Clarion AutoPC, a voice-controlled device that combined elements of a car stereo, cell phone and personal digital assistant. The second version will be used in the Internet computer GM plans to install on some Cadillacs later this year.

Bob McKenzie, the general manager of Microsoft's automotive business unit, said the new version of Windows CE could be used to control a variety of devices — everything from a simple, push-button cellular service system like GM's OnStar to an in-dash computer that also controls video entertainment for passengers.

After four years of work, the number of cars with a Windows CE computer is only in the thousands. But McKenzie said the company expects the business to take off.

Microsoft also introduced Car.Net, a set of standards it would like to see automakers and other companies adopt for in-car computing. Car.Net is based on open computer industry programming languages and standards — not Microsoft-only products.

Under Car.Net, devices could shuttle information between a home, office and car and among several different devices — from pagers to desktop computers.

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On the Net:

Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsce/

Clarion AutoPC: http://www.autopc.com/index2.html

OnStar: http://www.onstar.com/